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Monday, 11 January 2021
Reading terror victim's family demands to know why murderer was in UK after asylum had been rejected
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From the Telegraph

The family of one of the men murdered in the Reading terror attack has demanded to know why the failed Libyan asylum seeker was even in the country at the time of the outrage.

...Mr Furlong’s family said there were serious questions around why the former child soldier from Tripoli was free to carry out his murderous attack in Britain.

Saadallah, who was a member of a banned terrorist group in Libya, first came to the UK seeking asylum in 2012 but was turned down by the Home Office.

Despite racking up a string of criminal convictions for violence he remained in the country for the next eight years and just days after being released from prison last June, bought a knife and went on his murderous rampage.

It has also emerged that while he was serving a prison sentence in 2013 he fell under the spell of the radical preacher, Omar Brooks, who is suspected of further radicalising him.

Nick Harborne, chief executive of the Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG), who had dealt with Saadallah since 2016, also claims to have warned the authorities four times that he could commit a violent crime if he did not receive appropriate support. I'm not sure what form 'appropriate support' would take; a large ball and chain round his neck and an alarm that screeched 'beware the  jihadist' when he left the house might have worked. 

Mr Furlong’s father, Gary, said: “On the facts of this case, there are now serious questions that need answering, most notably, how the killer was ever in a position to commit these horrific acts.

"Seeking asylum here in 2012 he has obtained a litany of criminal convictions, including assaults on the public, police, and emergency services, along with carrying a bladed weapon. Whilst in prison it was decided by the Secretary of State on June, 4 2020, just two weeks prior to the attack, that his deportation was in the public interest but for legal reasons it could not happen.”

"I've got to be really realistic and you look at this person and you've got to say how was he ever allowed to stay in this country? How was he allowed into this country in the first place? . . The Secretary of State needs to tell us why this guy wasn't put into some sort of detention centre before they could deport him. He wasn't safe to put back on the streets."

Unlike Doreen Lawrence Mr Furlong won't have the might of the race relations industry to bankroll him but it would be good if somebody could make the government look long and hard at these security shortcomings.   

Mr Justice Sweeney said he was in no doubt Saadallah had lied about his role with Ansar Al Sharia and had held extremist Islamic views.

After his asylum application was rejected Saadallah appealed the decision but was again turned down.

However, he was not deported and in 2013 he absconded and was only tracked down months later.

He initially agreed to leave the UK voluntarily but later changed his mind and despite amassing seven convictions for 19 offences remained in the UK.

In 2018 he was granted temporary leave to remain until 2023, but last June, just days before the attack and as he was about to be released from prison, was informed that the Home Office had concluded his deportation was in the public interest. Despite this, officials accepted this could not happen immediately because of a “legal barrier,” thought to be the unstable political situation in Libya.

There are also questions around Saadallah’s time within prison after it emerged that he had been able to become close to a notorious hate preacher and former member of banned terror group Al Muhajiroun.

Despite an acknowledgment by the authorities that Saadallah was “impressionable and volatile,” he was allowed to spend time with Omar Brooks, praying with him and visiting the gym while they were both being held at HMP Bullingdon.

Eilish O’Gara, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and former Prison Service counter-terrorism adviser, said: “Given, the tragic events in Reading, the Prison Service must urgently explain why dangerous radicalising offenders like Omar Brooks, continue to be placed with vulnerable prisoners, despite facilities existing to isolate them.”

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Posted on 01/11/2021 5:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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